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CONSTRUCT 2015 Recap

DC chapter members H. Michael Hill, FCSI, CDT, AIA, LEED AP and Tom Feulner, CSI, CCS, CCCA,  AIA, NCARB shared their experiences at CONSTRUCT 2015, held September 30 – October 3rd. Read their recap below. Members David Metzger, FCSI and Wade Bevier, FCSI also represented the chapter at the conference.

The venue was the America Center which was very convenient to Conference Hotels and downtown nightlife. Technical Tours of the St. Louis Public Library Restoration, Old Courthouse, Cathedral, and Gateway Arch Grounds (under extensive construction) were sold out and proved to be a special treat on a wonderful autumn afternoon.

The Wednesday evening Welcome Reception was held in the America Center and well attended with plenty of appetizers and drink. The Fellows were decked out and progressed to the Ferrara Theater for an emotional and very personal Investiture Ceremony for the 2015 Class of Institute Fellows. Following was a celebration in the Statler Ballroom where personal congratulations were conferred upon the new class.

Thursday offered the second day of diverse education sessions in the morning before the inspiring Keynote address by Tom Koulopoulos on Building the Future through our hyper connectivity and engaging the emerging post millennial generation, Gen Z.  It’s all about personal cross-connections and collaboration. “Stay engaged!” Before the keynote we were welcomed by a Blues Harmonica aficionado to get us into the St. Louis spirit. Our 2015 President, Lane Beougher gave us an emotion journey of his CSI assentation by saying “Yes” at every opportunity for Leadership. “Just say Yes!” We were also introduced to our new Executive Director and CEO, Mark Dorsey.

The Distinguished Service award was conferred on Sal Verrastro, FCSI, CCS, CCCA and accepted with an emotional thank-you to all who has supported him and had the pleasure to collaborate over the years of active volunteering from the grassroots to the Institute.

The Exhibit Hall opened and kept the attendees on the floor with lunch and afternoon sessions in several Education Booths.  Our new Executive Feedback from Exhibitors regarding traffic and leads was favorable.

Thursday afternoon was filled with Robotic Construction demonstration, CSI/CSC partnership meeting, building product manufacturer’s receptions, and culminating with an indescribable evening at the City Museum. Attendees were drummed into the 10 story treasure house for local BBQ, Brew, and Dancing.

Friday continued with diverse Education Sessions, Region Caucus Meetings, CSI Awards Ceremony, and Exhibit Hall buzzing about, then culminating in CSI Night Out, Host Chapter event at the Budweiser Brew House at Ballpark Village.

Saturday began with CSI Fun Run for those brave souls. The College of Fellows Annual Meeting and Breakfast introducing the Regional Ambassador Program (RAP) to engage the Fellows in educational and charitable activities. And another round of diverse education sessions and finally wrapping up the conference with the CSI Annual Meeting.

-H. Michael Hill, AIA, FCSI, CDT, LEED AP

gateway-30295_1280

I flew into St. Louis on Tuesday with great anticipation.  I had never been there and I was expecting a wonderful conference. During the show, I met other chapter members some for the first time.

The education seminars began on Wednesday morning.  The ones that I attended were interesting and informative.  I began with a splendid session on the planning and construction of the Eads Bridge, St. Louis’ first crossing of the Mississippi by George Everding.  Later, I attended sessions on building codes, new products, BIM, and professional development.

Later, I toured the Old Courthouse and Cathedral buildings as part of a technical tour.  These buildings were near the Gateway Arch.  The grounds around the Arch were being renovated.  The tour focused on the historical nature of both buildings and experienced the construction technology that produced both buildings.

The Welcome Reception was well-attended. There was plenty of local food dishes and local craft brews. A 4-piece combo played music. Although I found it hard to have a conversation with the music, I saw many of my CSI friends from around the country.

Following the Welcome Session, CSI sponsored the investiture of six new Fellows.  I enjoyed listening to the varied experiences of each person and realized that there are many different paths to fellowship.

The General Session and Keynote occurred on Thursday.  I found the Keynote Speaker, Tom Koulopoulos, entertaining and intriguing.  He discussed how the “brain drain” of baby boomer employees will affect the construction industry and the economy in general.  He also spoke about how the youngest of people willingly accept technology while we “dinosaurs” fight with it tooth and nail.  Being a “dinosaur” is not so bad after all!

Then the Exhibit Hall opened.  The “show” part of CONSTRUCT was open all afternoon on Wednesday and Thursday.  While it was not overly large, it was full of many of the manufacturers and vendors that I specify.  Its compactness made it easy to see many of the exhibitors.  Many of them were staffed by people I know and respect.  And I was happy to see them.

On Thursday, the St. Louis Chapter held its Chapter event at the City Museum.  This place was a blast!  First, its architecture is made up of zillions of “found” parts from old buildings.  I thought using conveyor rollers as railing panels was really imaginative.  The upper floors contained pieces salvaged from demolished St. Louis buildings.  There was also an exhibit on Sullivan and Elmslie’s architectural ornamentation.  But outside was this enormous “jungle gym” have up of rebar, found objects, old planes and trucks, and more.  The grown-ups had a lot of fun.

CSI Night Out occurred on Friday at Baseball Village.  The Village was built across the street from New Busch Stadium.  If only the Cardinals were home!  I found it reminiscent of Wrigleyville in Chicago, except St’ Louis built theirs while Chicago’s grew organically.  I had my picture taken with “Fredbird,” the Cardinal’s mascot.  Again, this was a very well attended event and a great way to close the conference.

But it wasn’t quite over.  On Saturday, CSI held its annual meeting, where there was no new business to discuss.

Next year, CONSTRUCT 2016 will be held in Austin Texas from September 8th to 11th.  I am already looking forward to seeing you and my other CSI friends there.

-Tom Feulner, CSI, CCS, CCCA,  AIA, NCARB

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